The subject title says it all. To listen to some GOP'ers talk, you'd think socialism was Communism.

Tags: Communism, socialism

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@jason sadler

No slavery, no blues, no jazz, no rock and roll, no hip-hop. I wonder what our world would be like without them?

Cultures in conflict?

In a writing class I took, a student asked if personal suffering helps people become great writers. Among the younger students in the class, it was not a welcome thought. I was in my forties and found truth in the idea.

Forget the cultures in conflict idea. Instead, consider individuals who have suffered in some way.

Socialism doesn't ensure that everyone is wealthy and without need.  It can just ensure that everyone is healthy and educated, like Cara Coleen said.  And anyway, there are plenty of other ways that people can feel suffering and trauma.  No matter what your socioeconomic class, we are all subject to heartache and other traumas that occur in life.  I don't think that socialism or communism would wipe out or even diminish art from being created.

Sure we all experience teen angst and ups and downs, people will have traffic accidents, etc., but that's NOT the same as struggling to have enough food to survive such that you have to steal. It's not the same as living under a government that makes dissidents disappear. 

Most great art of the past has been a product of struggle.

A lot of them use healthcare as a "true" example, stating that the medical community needs to compete to advance.

Well, the GOP/conservative argument is that competition keeps prices down. This raises the question of why competition has been resulting in an upward spiraling of medical costs. Perhaps, health care isn't a normal market for several reasons, the main one being that medical matters are highly technical with researching them beyond the skills of typical consumers. Secondly, many medical decisions don't allow time for the consumer to do much research and in fact many such decisions are made on the spot. Finally, the consumer trusts the expertise of the doctor to recommend a treatment strategy, but the doctor strategy, whatever it is, has an impact on the doctor's bottom line. 

Yes, Unseen, you are right about health care not being a normal market.  Much of the inflationary costs in our health care system can be blamed on the fact that the major health insurance companies have carved up the country into fiefdoms so they don't have to deal with competition and can charge what they wish.  ( See Matt Taibbi's Griftopia.)  When you consider the government bailouts of the financial industry, how can we criticize socialism?  Cara is right.  People and their susceptibility to corruption causes political systems to decline.  As someone said,  "As organizations age, they become increasingly more bloated and corrupt."  This is true for monarchies, churches, communism and democracies. 

Consider also the origins of the US healthcare system. The federal government established wage and price controls during World War II in response to shortages of labor and rising commodity prices. Instead of a minimum wage, there was a maximum wage.

Employers were no longer able to compete for workers based on pay rates, so they started offering benefits instead. An act of Congress allowed employers a tax exemption on the cost of providing health insurance, and allowed employees to buy it from employers with pre-tax income.

This preferential taxation effectively destroyed the private health insurance market in the US. They had no tax exemptions, either for themselves or for buyers, and thus no way to compete. Employer-provided health insurance has been the norm ever since.  

This was the origin of employer-provided health insurance: mandates and programs established by the federal government, not the free market.

Gallup's Mirror, thanks for that tid-bit.  It might be common knowledge for some of the omniscient here, but I had no idea - being a Brit in the USA some of these origins fascinate me.  This one certainly did.  Cheers!

And now we seemingly are stuck with a system based on people working for corporations. Anyone working for themselves, unless they are quite successful at it, is screwed. And out of work? You're pretty much stuck with using the ER as your "doctor."

Not only that, but the "free market" solution to employer-provided health insurance has been tried (in the world's 8th-largest economy). It doesn't work. Here's why.

The plan involves allowing an employee to shop from a list of employer-provided health insurance providers across state lines. The competition, supposedly, drives down prices.

Here's the problem. The lowest-priced insurance comes from providers who have the lowest possible expenses. Translation: if you get sick, they drop you, and if you're already sick, they deny you. Some states allow that and some don't, so the lowest-cost health insurance providers will be located in states where it's legal. Providers in can't-drop-can't-deny states can't compete.

Ultimately you have a 'race to the bottom' in the drop-deny states, and the big winners are the providers most skilled at dumping sick people. In the end, only healthy people get to have insurance, the pool of the uninsured keeps growing, and you're right back where you started.

ObamaCare will put a stop to that, assuming Obama wins and it survives.

 

The problem with medical "competition" is elasticity. Consumers are perfectly elastic when it comes to medical needs; it doesn't matter the cost, they will pay the price because they must. Unlike other commodities, like vehicles, the seller has the consumer over a barrel and it is beyond easy to take advantage of them. This is basic economics that apparently the GOP is ignoring (currently in an Econ class haha).

Healthcare is simply a field that must be regulated. There's no "competition" here; all who stand to make a profit will raise prices, and "competitors" will raise theirs to match... not lower them to attract consumers. They don't have to keep their prices low.

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